MTV's popular America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC) features street dance crews from across the United States. Described by some as a cross between America Idol and Dancing With the Stars, ABDC gives viewers a glimpse of the best dance crews on the scene as they pour out their hearts and souls competing for a shot at the $100,000 prize money and for a coveted spot on the ABDC Tour. Thirty-nine million votes were cast last season for the two remaining finalists, with Super Cr3w grabbing the honors in the Season 2 Finale. Now with the kick-off of Season 3 a new set of dance crew hopefuls are conditioning their bodies, perfecting their dance moves, putting their creativity to work and pulling together as a team in an effort to win the prize.
Why do dance crews invest their time and talents so tirelessly? Well, for one thing, dancing is fun. But beyond the fun, there's the draw of competition—of striving to be the best they can be and giving it their all. Striving to live up to one's full potential is a good thing, and reality shows like ABDC provide an outlet for competition. The Apostle Paul addresses our competitive natures in 1 Cor. 9:24 when he says, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."
Doing our best with integrity in whatever we undertake can give glory to God. After all, He designed us and gifted us with the natural abilities we're blessed with and He has made it possible for us to have the time and resources at our disposal to hone our talents and improve our teamwork.
Yet beyond the fun and competition, there may be something else that draws young people to endeavors like dance crews. It's that special feeling that comes when we're part of a team. We enjoy being part of a group because God created us to be relational. God is relational. And being made in His image, we're relational too. There's something in us at our very core that is drawn to being part of a team and being part of something bigger than ourselves. No wonder team competition, whether in the form of dancing, music, sports or whatever has such a global appeal across cultures and centuries.
In fact, God so totally understands the way He wired us—to enjoy teamwork—that He designed a way for His followers to experience that teamwork to the max! It's called "the church." God desires that we join forces with other believers so that together we can be something stronger and more dynamic than the sum of our individual parts. Together we can dream bigger, reach higher and run farther as we impact our world for Jesus.
Since the desire to be part of a team and to be competitive is hard-wired into our very human nature, America's Best Dance Crew can be a great conversation starter for talking about God and sharing your faith. So whether you're an ABDC fan or you prefer some other kind of outlet for your competitive teamwork tendencies, here are some suggestions for moving the conversation toward spiritual things:
• Ask your friends if they think striving to do their best is important. Why or why not? Share why it's important to you.
• When we're competing, we all want the rules and the judges to be fair. Why is fairness such a big deal? Talk with your friends about what gives us that sense of right and wrong and fairness and unfairness. Perhaps you'll get a chance to explain how our whole concept of right and wrong comes from God and His Word.
• What's the big draw for being part of a team or part of something that's bigger than you are? Explain how one of the ways you personally find an outlet for that team dynamic is through your church or youth group. Invite your friends to your next youth group meeting or service project where they can experience being part of something bigger than themselves. Teamwork and competition in whatever form it takes can be a great experience because it challenges us to reach deep within ourselves to excel and it pulls us into relationship with others. Look for ways to launch into conversations with your friends and introduce them to the greatest relationship of all—one with Jesus!